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iOS 16 Introduces A New iPhone Keyboard Layout Option

On the iPhone, iOS 16 adds native support for the Dvorak keyboard layout, giving users an alternative to the standard QWERTY layout. The newly added option was first noticed by @aaronp613 and others in July, but it remained largely unnoticed until it was highlighted this week by Ars Technica and The Verge.

In comparison to QWERTY, Dvorak was designed to make two-handed typing faster and more ergonomic. August Dvorak patented the layout in 1936, which reduces finger motion by placing all vowels in the middle row on the left side of the keyboard and commonly used consonants like R, S, T, N, and L on the right side. However, because typing on a smartphone requires only your thumbs, Dvorak is not as useful on the iPhone.

On an iPhone running iOS 16, the Dvorak layout can be enabled in the Settings app under General → Keyboard → Keyboards → English → Dvorak, alongside existing QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ options. Dvorak is available only in English.

Using Dvorak on the iPhone prior to iOS 16 required installing a third-party keyboard from the App Store or connecting a capable external hardware keyboard. Dvorak has long been supported on the Mac and can be enabled by clicking the plus sign and selecting Dvorak in the System Settings app under Keyboard Input Sources.

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